On Friday, March 30, 2012 a federal district judge in San Fransisco ruled that the Forest Service violated the law when it issued grazing permits on five allotments on Mendocino and Klamath National Forests without performing the requisite environmental review.
The Forest Service had claimed
that its issuance of these grazing permits was "categorically excluded"
from review under the nation's premier environmental law, the National
Environmental Policy Act (NEPA), because of a legislative rider that was
tagged onto the 2006 appropriations bill. The rider had allowed the
Forest Service to categorically exclude grazing permits from NEPA if the
permit continued current grazing management, if monitoring indicated
that current grazing management was meeting management plan objectives,
and if there were no "extraordinary circumstances."
United States District Judge
Phyllis Hamilton found that the Mendocino Categorical Exclusion did not
comply with the rider because the monitoring was inadequate, and that
the Klamath Categorical Exclusion did not comply with the rider's
"extraordinary circumstances" prong because the Forest had failed to
consider impacts to designated wilderness.
Our thanks go to Warren Braunig and Lauren Rule of Advocates for the West who represented Western Watersheds Project and a coalition of other organizations in this case !
Dr. Michael Connor